JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - At the popular Annex Restaurant, the coffee is hot and so is the conversation. The topic Tuesday, the new contract at Ingalls and what it means for Pascagoula. Amanda Smith owns the Annex. "We get a lot of business out of Ingalls. We do deliveries out there, we lunch rushes from there so it brings in a lot of business here," Smith said.
At Jerry Lee's, Ingalls workers will continue walking up and down the aisles picking up groceries, according to owner Mark Lee. "Well, I'm glad to see Ingalls working with their highly skilled workers at the shipyard. And I think it will help our economy very much and in the next three years we'll see a big increase in sales and see a lot of things happening," Lee said.
Ingalls union workers get a $1,250 bonus next week. Their hourly wage goes up 60 cents next year, 60 cents in 2016 and 75 cents in 2017.
Retired Ingalls employee Steve McKenzie knows very well the significance of the new contract. "Well, I think it's good that there is no loss of work, a steady paycheck, it's Christmas time. It's good for the whole community, Jackson County, Harrison County so I'm just glad for them," McKenzie explained.
While we've all heard the phrase little things mean a lot, small items being bought add up. But also, big ticket items add up as well. And with a new contract approved by four unions, those big ticket items may be selling well.
One of those items is new cars, and sales are expected to rev up. Phillip Pogue is a dealership general manager. "It means a lot to us. As long as they have the income they can come in here and buy a car 99 percent of the time. And anytime we have this kind of thing, our car sales go up for sure," Pogue said.
Perhaps the most important thing the contract means, a feeling of confidence. John Gaffney owns a downtown Pascagoula dive shop. "With a three year contract that we're going to see a little more freedom with people spending, which means in turn they're going to come in shops like ours and spend money so I'm looking for forward to the next three years."
And so is just about everyone else.
Two smaller unions at Ingalls have voted not to accept the new contract, but union officials are continuing to negotiate with the giant shipbuilder.